Tushpa, later known as Van, was the capital of the Urartu kingdom of ancient Armenia, eastern Turkey, and western Iran from the 9th to 6th century BCE. Located on the eastern shore of Lake Van in modern Turkey, the city was a fortress site which was reused as a provincial capital under the Achaemenian Empire and then, once again, made the capital of the Artsruni kingdom during the medieval period. Tushpa/Van is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the region.


Tushpa was founded by king Sarduri I (r. c. 835 - 825 BCE) around 830 BCE to function as the capital of the Urartu civilization, a loose confederation of kingdoms which covered territories in Eurasia from the Euphrates River to Lake Urmia and territory north of the Taurus Mountains. In the highlands around Lake Van, the traditional heartlands of Urartu and subsequent Armenian kingdoms, the fortress of Tushpa was built on a limestone promontory on the eastern shores of the lake. The height of the rock is in places 115 metres (375 feet). The city was named after the goddess Tushpuea (aka Tushpues or Tushpua), who was the consort of Shivini, the Urartian sun god. The name Van derives from the Urartian people's name for their region, Biaina. Tushpa/Van perhaps had a population as high as 50,000 at its peak, and it subsequently gave its name to the region: Tosp.

Significant construction projects include the massive cyclopean walls of fortress Tushpa.

A Garden City

Tushpa prospered thanks to the fertile plains around it, the Urartians' skills in animal husbandry, especially horse-breeding, and its location near trade routes which connected the Mediterranean with central Asia. The Urartians were also innovative and ambitious architects. Significant construction projects include the massive cyclopean walls of fortress Tushpa. With parts still standing today, the walls used huge stone blocks measuring around 6 m long and 75 cm thick. One portion of wall, perhaps originally intended as a pier or breakwater, carries an inscription in Assyrian. Carved during the reign of Sarduri I, it states:

An inscription of Sarduri, son of Lutipri, the magnificent king, the mighty king, king of the universe, king of the land of Nairi, a king having none equal to him, a shepherd to be wondered at, fearing no battle, a king who humbled those who would not submit to his authority. I, Sarduri, son of Lutipri, king of kings, received tribute from all the kings. Sarduri, son of Lutipri, says: “I procured this limestone from the city of Alniunu, I erected this wall”. (Piotrovsky, 49)

Another great engineering achievement was the 80-kilometre long stone-lined canal which brought fresh water from the Artos mountains to the capital (Lake Van is a saltwater lake). The structure was built by king Menua (r. 810-785 BCE) and allowed the proliferation of vineyards and orchards, resulting in Tushpa gaining a reputation as a garden city. The aqueduct was raised where necessary on large stone blocks and these often carry inscriptions which name the builder and warn of a curse on any person who destroys the structure or claims it as their own work as in this example:

Whosoever damages this inscription, whosoever overturns it, whosoever does such things according to his desire or in the name of another, Menua warns that the dread god Khaldi, the god Teisheba and the sun god Shivini will efface him from the sight of the sun. (Chahin, 74)

The canal continues to function and is still used today by farmers in the region to irrigate their fields.

During Menua's reign, the city also spread around the citadel and along the shores of Lake Van, which are fertile and sheltered from the harsher extremes of the region's climate. In the reign of Argishti II (r. 714-680 BCE), a new settlement was developed on the nearby hill of Toprakkale. The site, which became the royal palace, was completed by Argishti's son and successor Rusa II (c. 680-638 BCE) when it was renamed Rusahinili.

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The capital had a royal necropolis composed of chambers cut into the mountain on which the city was built. Tombs are composed of single, double, or triple chambers with the tomb entrance sealed by a large stone slab. Several royal tombs, long since looted, still carry inscriptions describing the achievements of their occupant. Of those tombs discovered intact, several contain stone sarcophagi with semicircular lids. Buried with the deceased were precious goods, weapons, shields, and even furniture, a practice which suggests the Urartians believed in an afterlife and that it was similar enough to the earthly one to necessitate such provisions.

Many cuneiform inscriptions made into the rock describe the kings of Urartu & some of their great deeds.

Other surviving remains from this period include an open-air shrine with smooth walls carved out of the rock, finds of figurines such as winged goddesses who might have once adorned bronze cauldrons, fragmentary stone statuary of deities, and many cuneiform inscriptions made into the rock face which describe the kings of Urartu and some of their great deeds.

Assyrian Wars

There were trade relations between Tushpa and the mighty Neo-Assyrian Empire but also major conflicts, too. Urartu did enjoy some victories in the mid-8th century BCE, but the Assyrian ruler Tiglath-Pileser III (r. 745-727 BCE) was more aggressive than his predecessors, and he laid siege to Tushpa in 736 BCE. The attack is recounted in the Assyrian annals of Tiglath-Pileser:

I shut up Sarduri [II] the Urartian in Turushpa [Tushpa], his principal city, and wrought great slaughter in front of the city gates. Then I set up the image of my majesty over against the city. (Piotrovsky, 83)

Fortunately for the Urartians, the city's walls did their job and the fortress remained impregnable. The Assyrians, nevertheless, torched and plundered the lower city, along with many others in the kingdom.

Another significant conflict between the two states was during the campaign of Sargon II (722-705 BCE) in 714 BCE, although Tushpa was not directly attacked. In the 7th century BCE, the Urartu kingdom came to a mysterious but violent end when sometime between c. 640 and c. 590 BCE their cities, including Tushpa, were destroyed. The state was probably weakened by decades of battles with the Assyrians, and it may have been too overstretched to control its own empire. The perpetrators are not known, but the Scythians are one candidate, the Cimmerians another, and even possibly forces from within the territories administered by the Urartu kings.

Achaemenid Rule

The territories the Urartu kingdom had once occupied were ultimately taken over by the Medes from c. 585 BCE onwards and Van was rebuilt. The region was shortly afterwards incorporated into the Achaemenian Empire of Cyrus the Great in the mid-6th century BCE. Van then became the seat of the Persian satrap who governed the new province. From this period comes the now-famous lengthy inscription on the rock face of Van. Made during the reign of Xerxes (486-465 BCE) it is written in the three official languages of the Achaemenian Empire - Old Persian, Elamite and Babylonian - and describes the king's divine right to rule over his empire:

A great god is Ormuzd, who is the greatest of gods, who created this earth, who has created that heaven, who has created mankind, who has given happiness to man, who has made Xerxes king, sole king of many kings, sole lord of many. I am Xerxes, the great king, the king of kings, the king of the provinces with many tongues, the king of this great earth far and near, son of king Darius the Achaemenian. Says Xerxes the King: Darius the king, my father, did many works, through the protection of Ormuzd, and on this hill he commanded me to make his tablet and an image; yet an inscription he did not make. Afterwards I ordered this inscription to be written. May Ormuzd, along with all the gods, protect me and my kingdom and my works. (Chahin, 69-70)

Hellenistic Period & Sasanid Rule

During the reign of the Orontid dynasty (6th-3rd century BCE), after the fall of the Persian Empire, Van was passed aside when Armavir (the former Urartian city of Argishtihinili) was made the capital c. 330 BCE. The city remained important and benefitted from the building projects of Tigranes the Great (r. 95 - c. 56 BCE) in the early part of the 1st century BCE, although he founded a new capital, Tigranocerta, in 83 BCE which was further to the west and in a more central position within the newly expanded Armenian Kingdom.

When the Arsacid dynasty ruled Armenia (12-428 CE) Artaxata was the capital but Van remained important in the region. The city's continued importance as a trading centre resulted in it acquiring a more cosmopolitan population; the Jewish community was especially large. When the Sasanid king Shapur II (r. 308-379 CE) invaded Armenia in 368-9 CE, Van was one of the cities attacked and its whole population was forcibly relocated to Persia.

Later History

Van did rise again to prominence during the medieval period when it was made the capital of the Artsruni (Ardsruni) kingdom which sprang up in Armenia from the late 8th century CE. The Artsruni prince Gagik, ruling under the auspices of the Abbasid Caliphate, made Van his capital in 908 CE. Yet again, the city was replaced as the royal residence, this time by Aghtamar, located on an island on Lake Van, but Van remained a thriving cultural centre if not a political one. Successively ruled by the Byzantines and Seljuk Turks, Van was sacked and destroyed in 1387 CE by Timur Leng, the Turco-Mongol conqueror (r. 1370-1405 CE) who then hurled 7,000 captives over the citadel's walls to their deaths. The city drifts into obscurity from then until the Ottoman period and a return to regional importance in the 19th century CE when it became a centre for Armenian rebellion against Turkish rule.

This article was made possible with generous support from the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research and the Knights of Vartan Fund for Armenian Studies.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs’ mission is to enhance the quality of life, to promote economic opportunity, and to carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of American Indians, Indian tribes and Alaska Natives.

History of BIA

Since its inception in 1824, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has been both a witness to and a principal player in the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages. The BIA has changed dramatically over the past 185 years, evolving as Federal policies designed to subjugate and assimilate American Indians and Alaska Natives have changed to policies that promote Indian self-determination.

For almost 200 years, dating back to the role it played in negotiating treaty agreements between the United States and tribes in the late 18th and 19th centuries, the BIA has embodied the trust and government-to-government relationships between the U.S. and the Federally recognized tribes. Over the years, the BIA has been involved in the implementation of Federal laws that have directly affected all Americans. The General Allotment Act of 1887 opened tribal lands west of the Mississippi to non-Indian settlers, the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 granted American Indians and Alaska Natives U.S. citizenship and the right to vote, and the New Deal and the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 established modern tribal governments. The World War II period of relocation and the post-War termination era of the 1950s led to the activism of the 1960s and 1970s that saw the takeover of the BIA’s headquarters and resulted in the creation of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975. The Tribal Self-Governance Act of 1994 along with the Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act have fundamentally changed how the Federal Government and the tribes conduct business with each other.

In the early years of the United States, Indian affairs were governed by the Continental Congress, which in 1775 created a Committee on Indian Affairs headed by Benjamin Franklin. Article I, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution describes Congress's powers over Indian affairs: "To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes." The BIA, one of the oldest bureaus in the Federal government, was administratively established by Secretary of War John C. Calhoun on March 11, 1824, to oversee and carry out the Federal government's trade and treaty relations with the tribes. Congress gave the BIA statutory authority by the act of July 9, 1832 (4 Stat. 564, chap. 174). In 1849, the BIA was transferred to the newly created U.S. Department of the Interior. For years thereafter, the Bureau was known variously as the Indian office, the Indian bureau, the Indian department, and the Indian Service. The Interior Department formally adopted the name “Bureau of Indian Affairs” for the agency on September 17, 1947.

Since 1824, there have been 45 Commissioners of Indian Affairs, of whom six have been American Indian or Alaska Native: Ely S. Parker, Seneca (1869-1871) Robert L. Bennett, Oneida (1966-1969) Louis R. Bruce, Mohawk-Oglala Sioux (1969-1973) Morris Thompson, Athabascan (1973-1976) Benjamin Reifel, Sioux (1976-1977) and William E. Hallett, Red Lake Chippewa (1979-1981). From 1981 to 2003, the title "Deputy Commissioner" was used to denote the head of the BIA. In 2003, after a major reorganization of the BIA, the title was administratively changed to "Director," which is still in use today. The first BIA Director was Terrance Virden, followed by Brian Pogue and Patrick Ragsdale (2005-2007). Then Jerold L. "Jerry" Gidner, Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa served from (2007-2010). Michael Black, Oglala Lakota Sioux, served as Director from 2010 to November, 2016. Bruce Loudermilk, a citizen of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana, served as Director from November 2016 to September 2017. Director Bryan Rice, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma was appointed in October of 2017. On April 28, 2019, the position was then filled by Darryl LaCounte, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota.

William Hallett was the last to serve as BIA Commissioner following the establishment of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs position within the Interior Department in 1977. Since then, 12 individuals, all American Indians, have been confirmed by the United States Senate for the post: Forrest J. Gerard, Blackfeet (1977-1980) Thomas W. Fredericks, Mandan-Hidatsa (1981) Kenneth L. Smith, Wasco (1981-1984) Ross O. Swimmer, Cherokee Nation (1985-1989) Dr. Eddie F. Brown, Tohono O’odham-Yaqui (1989-1993) Ada E. Deer, Menominee (1993-1997) Kevin Gover, Pawnee (1997-2001) Neal A. McCaleb, Chickasaw Nation (2001-2002) David W. Anderson, Lac Courte Oreilles Chippewa-Choctaw (2004-2005) and Carl J. Artman, Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin (2007-2008) Larry Echo Hawk, Pawnee (2009-2012) Kevin K. Washburn, Chickasaw Nation (2012-2016). Tara Mac Lean Sweeney, a prominent Alaskan leader and acclaimed businesswoman with the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, was sworn in as the Department’s Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in 2018.

The past thirty years have also seen the largest increase in the number of American Indian and Alaska Native people working for the BIA. Currently, most of its employees are American Indian or Alaska Native, representing a number larger than at any time in its history. In keeping with the authorities and responsibilities granted under the Snyder Act of 1921 and other Federal laws, regulations, and treaties, BIA employees across the country work with tribal governments in the administration of law enforcement and justice agricultural and economic development tribal governance and natural resources management programs in order to enhance the quality of life in tribal communities.

The BIA carries out its core mission to serve 574 Federally recognized tribes through four offices. The Office of Indian Services operates the BIA's general assistance, disaster relief, Indian child welfare, tribal government, Indian Self-Determination, and reservation roads programs. The Office of Justice Services directly operates or funds law enforcement, tribal courts, and detention facilities on Federal Indian lands. The Office of Trust Services works with tribes and individual American Indians and Alaska Natives in the management of their trust lands, assets, and resources. Finally, the Office of Field Operations oversees 12 regional offices and 83 agencies which carry out the mission of the Bureau at the tribal level.

The BIA's responsibilities once included providing health care services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. In 1954, that function was legislatively transferred to the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, now known as the Department of Health and Human Services, where it has remained to this day as the Indian Health Service (IHS). For information about the U.S. Indian Health Service, visit www.ihs.gov.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is a rarity among Federal agencies. With roots reaching back to the Continental Congress, the BIA is almost as old as the United States itself. As Federal policy has changed from notions of subjugating and assimilating American Indians and Alaska Natives, so the BIA’s mission has changed as well. Its role now is as a partner with tribes to help them achieve their goals for self-determination while also maintaining its responsibilities under the Federal-Tribal trust and government-to-government relationships.

Tushpa was the name of the capital of the Urartian Kingdom, or The Kingdom of Van founded in 9th century BC. A few centuries later the name would be changed to Van. The Urartian presence around Lake Van dates back to 4,000-5,000 years. The early Urartians played a major role in the development of Vineyards and wine making in ancient Armenia.

Haghtanak, Victory: a hybrid variety developed at the Armenian Scientific Research Institute of Viticulture and Winemaking in the late-1970s. Cultivated in the Ararat Valley as well as in Syunik Region and in Artsakh. The tip of the young shoot is light green, with dark red lines. The mature leaf is medium, almost round, deeply to medium five-lobbed. The berry is medium sized, roundish, black. The juice is red. Haghtanak wines are high quality, full bodied, dry and fruity, with a deep, robust, red color.

Tushpa - History

At this time there lived Semiramis (Shamiram in Armenian), the queen of Ninevah. Her husband was Ninus, who came to loathe her for her infidelity, and left his country. Semiramis, who had heard about the fame of the handsome Armenian king Ara, lusted after his image and asked him to come to Ninevah and marry her. When Ara refused, she marched her armies towards Armenia.

The battle began when Semiramis arrived in the region called Ararat. She ordered her commanders to capture Ara alive, but he was vanquished and killed by one of her sons. His body was found on the battlefield among the other slain soldiers. In order to calm the Armenians, who wanted to continue the fight to avenge his death, Semiramis said, "I have prayed to the gods to lick his wounds and heal him. Ara will revive."

Semiramis was a sorceress, and she believed in her powers. She was so crazed at his death and desperate for his beauty that she believed she could revive him. When his corpse decayed she became more crazed than before, and had her servants bury it in a deep grave. Dressing one of the men from her retinue of lovers as Ara, she came before the Armenians and said, "Licking his wounds the gods gave life back to Ara, thus fulfilling our deepest desires. Since they have bestowed on us happiness we should exalt them more than before."

She had a new statue erected to the gods and offered them many sacrifices for saving Ara. The people believed that Ara was revived, and Semiramis was saved from another battle waged against her.

In order to eternalize her love for Ara, she named his son Karthos after him, who was born from his wife Nuvard and aged twelve at the time. Although he was so young, she made him ruler of Armenia.

On her way back to Ninevah, the proud Assyrian queen traveled by the eastern shores of Lake Van. Struck by the beauty of the region and bringing thousands of workers and many architects, she had a magnificent summer palace built on the rocky cliffs nearby. (Ed. Note: There is some discrepancy in Khorenatsi's account of the palace and city alluded to Semiramis. The description of the palace walls and a monumental wall with inscriptions described in his account were actually built during the reigns of the Urartian King Menuas and Argishti. Khorenatsi mistakes the palace and new city of Tushpa for one built by Semiramis. Likewise the Semiramis Canal, which was accredited by Khorenatsi as being built under Semiramis' orders, was laid during the Urartu period, on top of earlier 4th-3rd millennium BC canals).

Khorenatsi goes on to relay that Semiramis remained in the city she had built, appointing as her representative in Assyria and Ninevah, Zoroaster, the religious leader and oracle of the Medes, and as such he ruled the country well for a long time.

Ninus did not die in Ninevah, and is not buried in the palace, as it is said, but actually fled to Crete. When her children grew up they wanted to seize Semiramis' throne and confiscate her treasury. They openly accused her of disgraceful deeds. This enraged her, and she had all of her children killed with the exception of the youngest son Ninyas, or "Zamassias". She left her throne and her treasury to her lovers instead.

Therein Zoroaster tried to usurp the throne, and in the ensuing battle Semiramis was defeated which caused her to flee to Armenia. Her son Ninyas saw his chance, and killing her became the ruler of the kingdom. Ara (Karthos, the renamed son of Ara) also died in during the battle, leaving a son named Anushavan.

Another version of the story of Ara Geghetsik and Semiramis is tied to the mountain that bears Ara's name (Arai Lehr). This version has Ara being cast upon the mountain by Semiramis after he spurns her advances. Semiramis, skilled in black magic, conjured the forces of the night to throw him into the void, and when he landed, his body sank onto the top of the mount, giving it its present contour. Yet another tale says that when Ara died, and Semiramis had him buried at the foot of the mountain, his spirit rose, forming the top of the mountain into his sleeping likeness. The top of the mountain does resemble the contour of a man's face.


Does This 3,000-Year-Old Statue Depict An Ancient Astronaut?

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It is definitely one of the most enigmatic artifacts ever discovered by archaeologists. It was excavated in Turkey in 1973 in a town called Tushpa, modern-day Toprakkale.

In the distant past, Tushpa was the capital of the Kingdom of Urartu. The Urartian kingdom was the Iron Age Kingdom located near Lake Van in Armenia. The precious stone artifact made of soft yellowish-brown stone is estimated to be around 3,000 years old, although some researchers speculate that the object could be much older than what researchers now believe.

According to Zecharia Sitchin’s book The Earth Chronicles Expeditions:

“The object itself is a sculpted scale model of what, to modern eyes, looks like a cone-nosed space vehicle, 23 cm long, 9.5 cm high, and 8cm wide (about 5.7, 3.8, and 3.5 inches respectively). It is powered by a cluster of four exhaust engines in the back surrounding a larger exhaust engine. And in its center, the rocket ship has room for a sole pilot—a pilot [unfortunately headless] who is actually shown and included in the sculpture…”

The mysterious stone artifact is a key element in the Ancient Astronaut theory, and many people believe it is the ultimate physical proof that otherworldly beings came to Earth in the distant past. Is it possible that this mysterious, enigmatic and puzzling artifact is a representation of an object that appeared in the sky above the kingdom of Uratia?

In his book, Sitchin further describes the enigmatic rocket ship.

“He sits with his legs bent up toward his chest. He wears a ribbed pressure suit it is a one-piece suit that completely hugs the body. Down the legs and at the feet, it becomes boot-like. It extends and fully covers the folded arms, becoming glove-like where the hands are. The ribbed and presumably flexible suit encloses the whole torso—up to the pilot’s neck…”

We can observe that the head of the pilot is clearly missing, a detail that raises, even more, question about the enigmatic object. What was the pilot like? Did the pilot resemble human beings? And what about the helmet?

The story behind the location where the ‘rocket ship’ was unearthed is particularly interesting. The Great Kingdom of Urarta was located in the eastern region of Anatolia, close to the border of Iran. Interestingly, there, we can find the remains of the Temple of Khaldi, The Supreme sky god of the Urartian people. Is it possible that the rocket ship and its pilot are an actual representation of Khaldi? Khaldi or Hayk was, in fact, one of the three main deities of the Urartu people. It is particularly interesting that of all the Urartian Gods, the most inscriptions are in fact dedicated to Khaldi.

Sitchin describes the artifact in Atlantis Rising Magazine, Issue 15:

“a sculpted scale model of what, to modern eyes, looks like a cone-nosed rocket-ship… Powered by a cluster of four exhaust engines in the back surrounding a larger exhaust engine, the rocket-ship has room for a sole pilot—actually shown and included in the sculpture.”

But even more interesting is the Kingdom and its megalithic constructions. Urartu was a majestic kingdom in the past, and the remains of Toprakkale are clear evidence of cyclopean masonry, huge structures that were erected without the use of mortars.

It is clear that the ancient kingdom of Urartu is filled with enigmas, and the rocket ship excavated in the region remains as one of the greatest mysteries to archaeology, taking in count that the artifact isn’t a modern forgery which according to some researches is possible.

This 3000-year-old spaceship is stored in the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul but mysteriously, it is not being exhibited.

Mystery Of Ancient 3,000-Year-Old Space Capsule

Is it possible to suggest that this 3,000 -year-old stone artefact is a replica of an ancient single-seat rocket ship?

It was discovered in Turkey in 1973 in a town called Tushpa, modern-day Toprakkale. Once upon a time Tushpa was the capital of the Kingdom Urartu. The lost Kingdom of Urartu is shrouded in mystery because very little is known about this ancient place and the origins of its people. The kingdom’s beginnings are lost in the mists of pre-history, but before it was destroyed, Urartu was situated in Eastern Turkey, Iran and the modern Armenian Republic. The earliest documentary mention of the land of Urartu can be found in Assyrian sources.

Based on what we know, the people of Urartu were famous metalworkers, spoke a language that was related to Hurrian (a language that has no other known connections), and they adapted the Assyrian cuneiform script for their own purposes.

Amazing stone artefact made of soft yellowish-brown stone is estimated to be around 3,000 years old, although some researchers speculate that the object could be much older than what researchers now believe. It is stored in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum in Turkey and has never really been on public display.

According to Zecharia Sitchin’s book The Earth Chronicles Expeditions : “The object itself is a sculpted scale model of what, to modern eyes, looks like a cone-nosed space vehicle, 23 cm long, 9.5 cm high, and 8cm wide (about 5.7, 3.8, and 3.5 inches respectively). It is powered by a cluster of four exhaust engines in the back surrounding a larger exhaust engine. And in its center, the rocket ship has room for a sole pilot—a pilot [unfortunately headless] who is actually shown and included in the sculpture…”

This fascinating statue depicting a space-suited alien-like man on the rocket is one of the most challenging pieces of evidence in the ancient astronaut theory. Many believe it is the ultimate physical proof that otherworldly beings came to Earth in the distant past.

In his book, Zekaria Sitchin gives description of ‘alien pilot’:

“He sits with his legs bent up toward his chest. He wears a ribbed pressure suit it is a one-piece suit that completely hugs the body. Down the legs and at the feet, it becomes boot-like. It extends and fully covers the folded arms, becoming glove-like where the hands are. The ribbed and presumably flexible suit encloses the whole torso—up to the pilot’s neck…”

What if this space capsule-like looking object is a representation of Khaldi, the supreme sky god, one of the three main deities of the Urartu people. His original character as a god of vegetation and fertility was developed by giving him a new role as the national god of Urartu.

Ancient Kingdom Urartu with its megalithic constructions is filled with artefacts, which have not been excavated because of different reasons. This region of eastern Anatolia in Turkey is one of the greatest mysteries to archeology.

Seljukide Water Works

Certain dams in Turkey date back to 11th to 14th centuries, the Seljukide period in Central and Eastern Anatolia. The remains of some dams have been submerged in the reservoirs of modern dams like Altınapa and Sille, others damaged by outside effects.

The most interesting example is probably the 12 m high Faruk dam near Van, with a crest length of 30 m, before the left half collapsed in 1988. The estimates for the construction date of the Faruk dam varies from the Urartu to Ottoman periods, but the appropriate dating appears to be Seljukide (Schnitter 1979 Çeçen 1987 Garbrecht 1991d Öziş 1999 Bildirici 2004 Öziş et al. 2007).


The Sahip Ata irrigation canals in Konya date back to the 13th century. The irrigation systems in Ereğli and at other places in Central Anatolia, some of them with probable Hittite origins, date also back to the Seljukide period a few of them are still in operation (Bildirici and Bildirici 1996 Bildirici 2004). Some underground conduit systems might date back to this period (I.W.A. 2012).

Water Power

The supply canal of a water-mill at Çermik passes through an asymmetrical opening of the Seljukide Haburman masonry bridge from 12th century (Fig. 5). This is apparently one of the most ancient water power schemes in Anatolia, being still in operation (Öziş et al. 2007).

Watermill supply canal through the Seljukide Haburman bridge in Çermik (photo:Ü.Öziş)


The book by Ebul-feyz El Cezeri, who was named after the town Cizre in South-eastern Anatolia, is a 12th century masterwork on ingenuous hydro-mechanical devices (Cezeri 1196 Hill 1974 Çeçen 1979a I.W.A. 2012).

Historia [ redigera | redigera wikitext ]

Urartu nämns första gången i medelassyriska inskrifter från 1200-talet f.Kr. som en benämning på olika stammar i Vanområdet. Fram till 800-talet f.Kr. bildades en stat som cirka 830–735 f.Kr. var en en stormakt i området under en svaghetsperiod för det Nyassyriska riket. Kung Menua utvidgade gränsen till Urmiasjön och till Eufrat samt grundade flera städer. Under kungarna Argishtis och Sardur II:s regeringstid växte riket så att det omfattade även området kring Sevansjön. De nyassyriska kungarna Tiglat-Pilesar III och Sargon II hejdade Urarturikets expansion. Omkring 600 f.Kr. förstördes de flesta städerna i riket av skyterna och Urartu upphörde att vara ett eget rike. Urartu uppgick först i medernas rike, sedan persernas rike för att sedan bli en del av Armenien. [ 1 ]

Ursprung [ redigera | redigera wikitext ]

Den tidigaste benämningen av Urartu kommer från inskriptioner av kung Shalmaneser I av Assyrien och beskrivs där som den del av Nari-federationen vilket var en lös sammanslutning av småkungadömen och stammar i det armeniska höglandet. Själva Urartu skall ha härskat över området kring Vansjön och de kom att erövras av Shalmaneser I och hans armé. Urartu skulle komma att bli självständigt igen under det första assyriska rikets kollaps men utsattes för flera anfall från assyrierna under århundradena som följde. Främst under kungarna Tukulti-Ninurta I (c. 1240 f.Kr.), Tiglath-Pileser I (c. 1100 f.Kr.), Ashur-bel-kala (c. 1070 f.Kr.), Adad-nirari II (c. 900 f.Kr.), Tukulti-Ninurta II (c. 890 f.Kr.), and Ashurnasirpal II (883–859 f.Kr.).

På 800-talet f.Kr. omnämns Urartu som en mäktig stat och rival till assyrierna och det verkar som att områdets tidigare småkungadömen och stammar enats till ett rike av Arame av Urartu. Arame hade först sin huvudstad vid Sugunia men flyttade den sedan till Arzashkun. 843 besegrades han och tillfångatogs av kung Shalmaneser III av Assyrien och Urartu blev därefter åter igen ett assyriskt vasallkungadöme. [ 2 ]

Uppgång [ redigera | redigera wikitext ]

Under 830-talet f.Kr. drabbades det assyriska riket av stagnation vilket gav Urartu utrymme att åter igen befria sig från Assyrien och börja växa. 832 f.Kr. blev Sarduri I kung av Urartu (832–820 f.Kr.) och han grundade en ny dynasti i riket. Sarduri flyttade rikets huvudstad till Tushpa (dagens Van) vid Vansjön och byggde upp dess armé [ 2 ] . Han lyckades sedan driva tillbaka ett assyriskt anfall lett av Shalmaneser III och Urartu blev därmed ett av de mäktigaste rikena i Mellanöstern. Sarduri's son Ispuini (820-800 f.Kr.) efterträdde sin far vid dennes död och annekterade grannstaten Musasir. Musasir blev sedan en av rikets viktigaste religiösa kultplatser för Haldikulten [ 2 ] . Efter att ha erövrat Musasir anfölls riket åter igen av assyrierna under kung Shamshi-Adad V. Invasionen misslyckades och assyrierna drevs tillbaka. Mot slutet av sin tid gjorde Ispuini sin son Menua (800-785 f.Kr.) till medregent. När han avled tog Menua över och han utvidgade Urartus territorier ännu mer. han kom även att lämna efter sig reliefer och inskriptioner i riket. Menua utmärker sig även som den förste urartiska konung som lät nedteckna skrifter på Urartiska istället för akkadiska som de tidigare kungarna använt sig av. [ 2 ]

Menua efterträddes i sin tur av sin son Argishti I (785–760 f.Kr.) som kom att leda Urartu till sin absoluta zenit. Under honom var Urartu så stort som det någonsin skulle komma att bli och de ansågs vara en av de absolut mäktigaste staterna i Mellanöstern. Argishti erövrade områdena i Aras och Sevansjön och besegrade flera assyriska kampanjer utförda av Shalmaneser IV. Han grundade även flera nya städer och försvarsverk, bland annat Erebunifästningen och skall ha tillfångatagit 6,600 slavar. Det Urartiska riket sträckte sig nu norr om Aras och Sevansjön och innehöll därmed hela dagens Armenien och södra Georgien, I nordväst sträckte sig riket nästan tills Svarta havet och i väst till Eufrates källa, i öst så långt som Tabriz vid Urmiasjön och i söder till Tigris källa. Rikets glansdagar skulle dock snart nå sitt slut när Tiglath-Pileser III av Assyrien invaderade och erövrade dem 745 f.Kr.. Han påträffade där ryttare och hästar som var bättre än de hästar assyrierna hade i sitt hemland och assyrierna tog med sig hästarna tillbaka till Assyrien där de blev del av den assyriska stridsvagnsarmén. [ 3 ]

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Tiglath-Pileser III höll inte kvar sina urartiska erövringar men kriget verkar ha varit en vändpunkt för riket. 714 f.Kr. drabbades Urartu hårt av kimmeriska räder och assyriska kampanjer utförda av Sargon II. Musasir intogs och plundrades och kung Rusa besegrades av Sargon i slaget vid Urmia. Han skall sedan ha begått självmord på grund av skammen [ 4 ] . Rusa's son Argishti II (714–685 f.Kr.) blev nu kung av Urartu och han byggde upp rikets försvar mot Kimmererna. 705 lyckades han även förhandla fram ett fredsavtal med Assyriens nya konung Sennacherib vilket innebar att rikets södra gräns säkrades. Detta skapade en tid av välgång för riket som varade till Argishti's son Rusa II:s död (685–645 f.Kr.).

Efter Rusa II verkar det urartiska riket sakta ha brutits ned av konstanta kimmeriska och skytiska anfall. som resultat av detta blev de beroende av assyriskt skydd vilket visar sig tydligt i Rusa II:s son Sarduri III:s brev där Assyriens kung Ashurbanipal tilltalas som "fader" [ 5 ] .

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Sarduri III följdes av tre kungar—Erimena (635–620 f.Kr.), hans son Rusa III (620–609 f.Kr.), och dennes son Rusa IV (609–590/585 f.Kr.). Under det sena 600-talet f.Kr. invaderades Urartu igen av skytier och nu även deras allierade medierna. 612 f.Kr. föll det assyriska riket till en allians av mederna, babylonierna och skyterna och Urartu hade nu förlorat sitt enda riktiga skydd. Medierna erövrade stora delar av Urartu och 590 f.Kr. intog de huvudstaden Tushpa. Det Urartiska riket var därmed upplöst och fynd från tiden visar att huvudstaden brändes ned. [ 6 ]

Efter sitt fall ersattes Urartu av den persiska satrapen Armenien. Vad som hände mellan Urartus fall och Armeniens uppkomst är till stor del okänt. [ 7 ]

Rex Geissler

Rex Geissler grew up in Carthage, Illinois, near where Iowa, Illinois and Missouri meet at the Mississippi River. Rex’s home in Carthage was three blocks from where Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, was killed. Rex’s love of sports including basketball, golf, cross-country, and football led him to start an annual Easter Basketball Tournament (http://www.greatcommission.com/carthage/) in his hometown, where he played on the Carthage Blueboys High School Basketball Team and was named 1983 Western Illinois Player of the Year and Hancock County MVP. Of course, Geissler’s 6𔃾″ frame helped out quite a bit . The Easter Basketball Tournament grew to include a couple hundred male and female players from around the United States, over 300 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, and Mixed Doubles basketball games, Dunk Contest, Road Race, and Banquet with Guest Speaker over the annual two weekend stretch while playing on five different courts from 8AM to 10PM on many days during the tournament’s eleven year history. And for Rex, the tournament was instrumental in helping grow his organizational abilities and teaching him the value of loyalty and keeping in touch with friends.

Rex Geissler graduated from Carthage High School as Valedictorian and then attended Illinois State University for four years where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 3.91 GPA and Bachelor of Science Degree from the Computer Science program in 1987. Since 1987, Geissler has worked in the software industry for IBM from 1987 to 1993 in Boulder, Colorado, as a consultant programmer from 1993 to 1998 for Walt Disney Studios, Banker’s Trust, Southern California Edison Energy, Prudential Real Estate, and AARP, and as a pre-sales software consultant from 1998 to the present day for Sybase, an SAP Company, specializing in the Sybase IQ Data Warehouse, Analytics, and Reporting software.

Rex Geissler began studying the Bible with his High School Basketball & Cross Country Coach “Shu” Shumaker during the summer of his Junior to Senior year at Illinois State University and thanks to God’s grace, committed his life to Christ when he was baptized July 27, 1986. After graduation, Rex moved to Boulder, Colorado where he worked as a programmer/analyst for IBM for six years. Geissler moved from Boulder to Los Angeles at the end of 1992 to help support a church in Long Beach by leading Bible studies and aiding in the church administration. Rex began a non-profit Bible & Book Ministry which distributed thousands of Bibles and spiritual books in the mid 1990s to 24 geographical church locations throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area. This non-profit work became a small publishing house named GCI Books, which has published ten books distributing over 12,000 volumes since 1995. GCI Books (http://greatcommission.com) focused primarily on the Bible’s history, scientific issues, exegesis, and topical studies. GCI’s published works include several different authors and books such as Is There A God? – Questions About Science and the Bible, Reasons For Belief – A Handbook of Christian Evidence, Keeping The Faith – The Early Church and the Apostolic Pattern by John Engler, Daniel – Prophet to the Nations, and The Grass Really Isn’t Greener – Unfaithfulness and Restoration to God. Rex authored and published a very detailed study of water baptism, Born of Water. After seven years in Long Beach and after Rex’s parents passed away in Illinois during the fall of 1998, Rex relocated his family to Highlands Ranch, Colorado in 1999 where his family currently resides.

Rex met Mount Ararat researcher and explorer B.J. Corbin in 1995 when Corbin was searching for a publisher for his collaborative book, The Explorers Of Ararat. Geissler and Corbin became great friends as they worked together expanding Corbin’s initial ideas into the encyclopedic, history book, The Explorers Of Ararat: And the Search for Noah’s Ark (http://www.noahsarksearch.com/book). Rex published, co-edited, co-authored, and helped coordinate the 21 co-authors to produce this 482-page, 265-photograph book in its original format and then expanded it into the 33 co-author, 3rd Edition, on-line version of the book. The book is known as an honest, fair-minded, objective, and hard-working research history, stating both the pro and con for each story and alleged claim.

Rex Geissler began the 501(c)(3) non-profit archaeological research foundation ArcImaging (Archaeological Imaging Research Consortium at http://arcimaging.org) in 1999 after his research and studies for The Explorers Of Ararat book were complete. Geissler has been the ArcImaging President since its inception. B.J. Corbin joined Geissler to start ArcImaging, became the ArcImaging Vice President, and works hand-in-hand with Geissler as the two ArcImaging officers. Geissler has always been interested in man’s history, visiting and photographing many biblical archaeology sites and museums throughout Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Sinai, Greece, Italy, England, Spain, France, Germany, China, Taiwan, Singapore, and the United States (http://greatcommission.com).

Mr. Geissler worked with Ataturk University in Erzurum, Turkey during October 2000 to create, type from Turkish into English, and sign the Agreement of Collaboration for archaeological research in Eastern Anatolia (http://www.arcimaging.org/GeisslerRex/GeisslerRex1AI.html). Geissler photographed and posted the 2000 ArcImaging Turkey Photo Album from his extensive ArcImaging Research Expedition. Mr. Geissler coordinated the trip and hosting of the Ataturk University Rector and Dean of Sciences & Arts who are over the Archaeology Department on a visit to ArcImaging’s Colorado headquarters, which included many scientific tours and ArcImaging presentations.

For the first time since 1989, the Turkish Embassy announced on October 10, 2001 that an international research group, ArcImaging, received federal permission from the Turkish Government and various Turkish Ministries including the Military and the Ministry of Culture to perform scientific research on Mount Ararat. Rex Geissler and ArcImaging were extremely pleased and grateful to the nation of Turkey and to Ataturk University for their support in this scientific research and for this privilege.

Based on the 2001 ArcImaging permission granted by the Turkish Government entities, Rex Geissler was the Project Coordinator on the 2001 ArcImaging Mount Ararat Research Expedition, which was extremely successful and productive. Mr. Geissler and ArcImaging are grateful to the nation of Turkey and to all Turkish entities for their support in this archaeological research. Geissler and ArcImaging look forward to working together with the nation of Turkey as this scientific research continues over the upcoming years and decades to come and Rex recently signed and notarized a new contract with Ataturk University in May 2006. Both Geissler and Corbin were featured on the 2001 History Channel Documentary, History’s Mysteries: The Search For Noah’s Ark, which aired nation-wide numerous times on the History Channel.


Het eerste onderzoek van de Vanrots werd uitgevoerd door een jonge Franse geleerde Friedrich Eduard Schulz in het begin van de 19e eeuw. Hij werd door zijn Franse collega's erop uitgestuurd te onderzoeken of de bewering van de Armeense historicus Movses Khorenatsi dat de Assyrische vorstin Semiramis had deelgenomen aan de bouw van de stad op de oever van het Vanmeer op waarheid berustte. [2] Daarom meende Schulz dat Tushpa en de Vanrots althans gedeeltelijk in verband stond met de Assyrische cultuur. Hij maakte tekeningen van de rots en van de spijkerschriftinscripties die hij aantrof. Hoewel hij zelf in 1829 door de Koerden gedood werd, raakte zijn materiaal in Frankrijk verzeild en werd het in 1840 gepubliceerd. [3]

Van wetenschappelijk belang is vooral dat Schulz een kopie maakte van de zgn. Horhor-kroniek van de Urartische koning Argishti I. Dit is een van belangrijkste documenten aangaande de geschiedenis van Urartu, uitgebeiteld in de westelijke wand van de rots. De rots zou later in het begin van de 20e eeuw, tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog door beschieting met granaten zwaar beschadigd raken.

Later werd snel duidelijk dat de door Schulz gekopieerde inscripties niet in het Assyrisch geschreven waren. Er werd in eerste instantie gesuggereerd dat de gebruikte taal een vroege vorm van het Armeens [4] was. Echter deze aanname bleek niet vruchtbaar en aan het eind vand de 19e eeuw vatte de gedachte post dat het hier om een onbekende taal en beschaving ging, nl. die van Urartu.

Aan het eind van de 19e vonden er op beperkte schaal expedities plaats in het gebied door het Britse en het Berlijnse museum. De gevonden waardevolle voorwerpen verrijkten deze beide musea en er verscheen een beschrijving in een boek met meerdere delen van Lehman-Haupt [5] . In de jaren 1915-16 was Van bezet door Russische imperiale troepen en volgde er een Russische expeditie onder leiding van J. A. Orbeli en N. Ja. Marr. Deze expeditie slaagde erin een kopie te maken van een ander belangrijk document, de kroniek van Sardur II, die begraven lag aan de noordoostkant van de rots. [6]

Vanaf de tijd van het werk van de Russische expeditie is er verder geen grootschalig opgravingswerk meer geweest. In 1948 was er nog een bescheiden Engelse expeditie. En sindsdien heeft de vindplaats veel geleden onder illegale plunderingen. [7]

Lange tijd hebben geleerden gedacht dat de hoofdstad van Tushpa door Rusa I naar Rusahinili verplaatst was. Naar men veronderstelde was de reden daarvoor een verwoesting door de legers van de Assyrische koning Tiglat-Pileser III in het jaar 735 v.Chr. Echter er is sindsdien meer bekend geworden uit opgravingen van forten in het westen van Azerbeidzjan en uit de vondsten van meer spijkerschriftdocumenten. Hieruit is duidelijk geworden dat de verplaatsing van de hoofdstad later heeft plaatsgevonden, nl. in de tijd van Rusa II [8] .

Ontstaan Bewerken

De eerste aanwijzingen dat Tushpa een centrum van de cultuur van Urartu was, stammen uit de tijd van Sardur I, d.w.z. het begin van de dynastie van Urartu [1] .

Stenen met inscripties van Sardur I zijn gevonden aan de westelijke helling van de rots van Van. De ontstaansgeschiedenis van Urartu kan niet los gezien worden van het conflict met de Assyrische buren waar Urartu gedurig aan bloot stond. In de tijd van Sardur I en zijn zoon Ishpuinis was het leger van Urartu te zwak om effectief aan de Assyrische agressie tegen het centrum van Urartu een einde te maken. Vele sterkten van Urartu bij het Vanmeer werden verwoest. Geleidelijk werd Urartu sterker, waarschijnlijk door technologische veranderingen, met name het gebruik van ijzer. Er werd een reeks forten gebouwd op de Armeense hoogten die de Assyriërs de toegang tot het hart van het rijk ontzegden. Hierna hadden de koningen hun handen vrij het land verder op te bouwen.

De keuze van de plaats waar het centrum van het rijk Urartu gevestigd werd, werd bepaald door een aantal factoren. Ten eerste maakt de aanwezigheid van het vrij grote Vanmeer het klimaat een stuk milder in een berggebied waar de temperatuur soms tot -40 °C wil dalen. Verder biedt een rots als die van Van een natuurlijke vesting en bovendien was de plek al een belangrijke cultusplaats voor de verering van de god Sjivini. [9]

Bloeitijd Bewerken

Onder het bewind van Ishpuinis was Tushpa al de hoofdstad van Urartu [1] . Vanaf dat moment wordt er in de kroniek regelmatig gebruikgemaakt van de titel "Machtig koning, koning van het land Biajna, heerser van de stad Tushpa". Onder Ishpuinis en zijn zoon Menuas vindt een interessante bouwfase plaats. Een religieuze hervorming doorgevoerd door Ishpuinis leidt tot de bouw van heiligdommen op de Vanrots voor alle belangrijke goden, de hoofdgod Khaldis inbegrepen. De rots wordt opgebouwd, er worden ruimten in uitgehakt die waarschijnlijk als koninklijk paleis fungeerden. Er worden trappen aangebracht om de verschillende niveaus met elkaar te verbinden. Op die plaatsen die gemakkelijk te bereiken waren, worden versterkingen aangebracht in vorm van muren en een poort. De verschillende buitenmuren en de in de rots uitgehouwen ruimte wordt beschilderd in helde kleuren, voornamelijk rood en blauw. [7]

De Armeense historicus Moses van Chorene vermeldt luxe woningen van drie verdiepingen [1] [10] Deze werden gebouwd door de Urarteeërs onder het bewind van koning Menuas [1] .

Bovendien bouwde Menuas voor de voorziening van de stad met drinkwater een kanaal van zeventig kilometer lengte. [1] Dit grootse bouwwerk, met op bepaalde plaatsen metselwerk tot 15 meter hoog en een aquaduct over de rivier de Khosjab, functioneert na 2500 jaar tot op de dag van heden en voorziet delen van de moderne stad Van van drinkwater. De enige renovatie vond plaats in de jaren vijftig van de twintigste eeuw, toen sommige muren van betonnen duikers voorzien werden. [11]

Enige eeuwen na de val van Urartu ontstond de legende die de bouw van het kanaal aan de Assyrische koningin Semiramis zou toewijzen. Mogelijk komt dit omdat Menuas en Semiramis of liever de Assyrische koningin Sammuramat tijdgenoten waren. Het kanaal heette wellicht het 'kanaal uit de tijd van Semiramis' en vervolgens verdween Menuas geheel uit de herinnering, waardoor het het 'kanaal van Semiramis' werd [1] .

Onder de volgende koningen Argishti I en Sardur II bereikt Urartu zijn bloeiperiode. Het gebied dat vanuit Tushpa beheerst wordt, wordt sterk vergroot en deze koningen houden zich bezig met de versterking van de economie en het staatsapparaat. Er volgt ook veel bouwactiviteit in andere delen van het rijk. [1] Zowel Argishti I als Sardur lieten inscripties uitbeitelen in de Vanrots, ieder op een andere zijde ervan. Dit zijn hun kronieken, twee van de belangrijkste spijkerschriftdocumenten van Urartu die tot op heden bewaard gebleven zijn [13] .

Nederlaag van Sardur II Bewerken

Aan het einde van het bewind van Sardur II verschoof het machtsevenwicht tussen Assyrië en Urartu opnieuw. In 735 v.Chr. vond een beslissend treffen plaats tussen de legers van de beide machten op de westelijke oever van de Eufraat. De Assyriërs boekten een grote overwinning en maakten veel krijgsgevangenen en namen andere trofeeën in beslag. Koning Sadur II, die zelf het opperbevel voerde, vluchtte van het slagveld naar Tushpa, maar Tiglat-Pileser III, zijn Assyrische tegenstander achtervolgde hem tot diep in Urartu. Een Assyrische kroniek verhaalt:

Sardur II van Urartu sloot ik in in Turushpa, zijn hoofdstad ik richtte een groot bloedbad aan voor zijn stadpoorten en het beeld van mijn majesteit richtte ik op tegenover de stad. Zestig lengtematen rondom de stad in het uitgestrekte land van Urartu trok ik zegevierend door van boven naar beneden en stootte op geen enkele tegenstand. De landen Uluba en Habhu, gelegen aan de voet van de berg Nal veroverde ik en annexeerde ik in het Assyrische Rijk. [14]

De vernietigende nederlaag toegebracht door de Assyriërs veroorzaakte chaos in Urartu. Meerdere streken eisten onmiddellijk hun onafhankelijkheid van het centrale gezag in Tushpa op. Het fort van Tushpa, mogelijk de stadswijken inbegrepen, kregen zwaar te lijden onder de invallers. Alleen de citadel ontkwam hieraan. [1]

Tushpa in de periode 735-675 v.Chr. Bewerken

Onder het bewind van Rusa II en Argishti II bleef Tushpa de onneembare hoofdstad van Urartu, hoewel na de nederlaag van Sardur II het machtsevenwicht steeds meer ten voordele van Assyrië verschoof. In 714 v.Chr. versloeg Sargon II Rusa II en bezette de steden Ulhu en Musasir. Daarna deed hij een serieuze poging door te dringen tot aan het Vanmeer, maar ook hij bleek niet in staat Tushpa in te nemen na analyse van de berichten van zijn spionnen besloot hij ervan af te zien omdat de vesting te sterk was. [1]

De volgende koning Argishti II trachtte een confrontatie met de Assyriërs uit de weg te gaan. Hij verschoof zijn aandacht van gebieden in het zuiden en zuidoosten, waar zijn belangen met die van Assyrië botsten, naar het westen. Hij versterkte het aanzien van de hoofdstad en de bewapening van Urartu en drong verder door naar het westen dan enige andere koning. [8]

Verplaatsing van de hoofdstad naar Rusahinili Bewerken

In 685 v.Chr. kwam in Urartu Rusa II op de troon die een ambitieus bouwprogramma ondernam. Onder zijn bewind werden er meer dan tien nieuwe steden gebouwd in Urartu, waaronder Tejshebaini. In de tijd van Rusa II was de Vanrots al volledig opgebouwd. Er werd daar na Rusa I niet meer gebouwd. [1] Rusa II nam het besluit de hoofdstad te verplaatsen naar een nieuw voor hem gebouwde vesting Rusahanili [8] , enige kilometers ten oosten van Tushpa gelegen. Na de verplaatsing van de hoofdstad bleef Tushpa wel bestaan als vesting en als stedelijke nederzetting, maar verloor haar eerdere grote betekenis.

Na de val van Urartu Bewerken

De vesting op de Vanrots werd waarschijnlijk ingenomen en verwoest door Meden in het begin van de 6e eeuw v.Chr. [1] Vervolgens werd na het uiteenvallen van Urartu de Vanrots gebruikt door de Achemeniden. Getuige hiervan is een inscriptie op de zuidkant van de rots van de hand van Xerxes I. In later tijden huisden er Armeniërs en Osmanen. De laatsten gebruikten de Vanrots weer actief als vesting. In die tijd werden er allerlei militaire bouwsels bijgeplaatst zoals wanden, een school en kazernes en de lagere verdiepingen werden als gevangenis gebruikt. In de Eerste Wereldoorlog deed de rots voor het laatst dienst als vesting en kwam onder hevig vuur te liggen. [7]

Na de val van Urartu bleef de naam "Tushpa" enige tijd bewaard in de benaming van de regio en als "Tosp" ook voor het meer. In het Grieks werd dat "Topitis" (Θωπι̂τιν) dat bij enige Griekse auteurs genoemd wordt waaronder Strabo [1] [15] , maar daarna raakte de naam in de vergetelheid omdat men tot de eeuwwisseling van de 19e en 20e eeuw niet in staat was de spijkerschriftteksten te ontcijferen.

Stadsplan Bewerken

De kern van de stad is de Vanrots met zijn citadel en de residentie van de koningen van Urartu. In de directe omgeving waren er nog meer stedelijke gebouwen, maar deze zijn niet bewaard gebleven. Deze stenen ervan zijn vervolgens gebruikt door de omwonenden als bouwmateriaal. In de omgeving van Tushpa waren ook de koninklijke wijngaarden aangelegd. In de hoogtijdagen was Tushpa een bloeiende stad. Irrigatiekanalen waren aangelegd en de oever van het Vanmeer werd veel intenser gecultiveerd dan nu het geval is. De tuin- en wijnbouwtraditie was aan de oevers van het meer vlak voor het begin van de 20e eeuw nog bewaard gebleven [16] . Urartu was beroemd om zijn wijn in de oudheid. Het merendeel van de geoogste druiven werd voor de productie van wijn gebruikt. Er werd naar andere landen geëxporteerd, maar wijn werd ook plaatselijk gebruikt bijvoorbeeld in relgieuze ceremonies [17] .

Aan de westelijke voet van de Vanrots werd, waarschijnlijk in de dagen van Sardur I een grote stenen pier gebouwd. Deze pier was 47 meter lang , 13 meter breed en lag 4 meter boven het toenmalige peil van het meer. Sindsdien is het waterpeil in het meer sterk veranderd, en de Vanrots ligt niet langer aan het water, zodat de "haven van Sardur" nu 4 km van de kust af ligt. [7]

Op een afstand van ongeveer 10 kilometer van Tushpa is ook het monumentale metselwerk gevonden van een aantal ondersteunende forten van Urartu, gebouwd door koning Menua [1] .

De Vanrots Bewerken

De rots van Van verheft zich van nature steil uit de omgeving. De rots is ongeveer 1800 m lang, 60 m breed en 80 m hoog [7] . Het gebruik ervan als vesting is zeker geen toeval. De keiharde rots strekt zich uit van oost naar west en in de dagen van Urartu strekte het westelijke einde zich uit tot aan de oever van het Vanmeer. Het was daarom een strategische plek, ideaal voor een citadel.

De vesting op de rots van Van kende een aantal poorten. De hoofdingang was de "Horhor"-poort , waar de inscriptie van de kroniek van koning Argishti I gevonden is. Deze was breed genoeg om een kar de vesting in te brengen, bijvoorbeeld voor de bevoorrading. Aan de noordwestkant van de klif waren verschillende andere kleine poorten. Deze waren alleen bedoeld om te voet naar buiten te gaan en waren alleen te bereiken via een reeks steile trappen. Deze kleine poorten konden ook gebruikt worden voor een snelle uitval van de troepen uit de citadel in geval van belegering. De poort aan de oostzijde van het fort, in de buurt waarvan de kroniek van Sardur II gevonden is, wordt vaak de "Tabrizpoort" genoemd.

Het pleintje waar de kroniek van Sardur aangebracht was, fungeerde ook voor het brengen van offers Het grootste offer voor Khaldi besloeg 17 stieren en 34 schapen. De plek was daarom voorzien van groeven om het offerbloed weg te laten lekken . In de jaren 60 - '80 van de twintigste eeuw, toen de rots openstond voor het publiek, gebruikten toeristen deze groeven vaak als glijbaan, daartoe aangemoedigd door het volksgeloof dat dit geluk zou brengen [7]

De grotten van de Vanrots Bewerken

De Urarteese bouwers hakten een groot aantal vertrekken uit in de rots voor allerlei doeleinden. Een aantal hiervan waren al ontdekt door Schulz. Deze ruimten worden gewoonlijk grotten of holen genoemd, hoewel ze van kunstmatige oorsprong zijn. Het exacte doel van alle grotten is niet altijd bekend. Wel is bekend dat het vertrek gelegen aan de onderkant van de klif gebruikt werd voor koninklijke begrafenissen. Het verste vertrek van de onderste grot werd uitgerust met een columbarium. Het was een kamer met 78 gaten in de muur voor het bijzetten van urnen die de as bevatten van de crematie. De bovenste grotten op de zuidhelling zijn ruime kamers met hoge plafonds. Zij hebben een vorstelijk karakter en hebben sporen van verf op de muren behouden. Wetenschappers geloven dat deze koninklijke vertrekken overeenkomen met wat Moses van Chorene vermeldt. De volkslegende schrijft echter de hele bouw aan Semiramis toe [2] .

Koninklijke verblijven Bewerken

Tegenwoordig liggen de overblijfselen van Tushpa in een politiek onstabiele regio van Turkije, waar de activiteit van Koerdische separatisten voortduurt. In verband daarmee heeft het Turkse leger een reeks vaste steunpunten aangelegd in het gebied. Lange tijd was een zo'n steunpunt gevestigd aan de Vanrots. Nu is het verplaatst naar het westelijke deel ervan, en de rots zelf en de onmiddellijke omgeving zijn aan het museum toegewezen. Echter er zijn geen echte voorzieningen voor toeristen en het monument wordt niet beschermd en de overblijfselen worden regelmatig gevandaliseerd. Veilig zijn alleen de bas-reliëfs die naar het Vanmuseum overgebracht zijn. [18] .